Eddie Jones has challenged England  to gain revenge for last year’s Six Nations defeat against Wales when the two sides meet this weekend, but batted away any questions regarding the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to avoid distractions of their cancelled finale next weekend against Italy.

The Six Nations confirmed on Thursday that all three games between Italy and England scheduled for the final weekend of the tournament have been postponed, with Jones’s side facing up to playing their encounter at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico later in the year along with the women’s and under-20’s matches.

Jones refused to discuss the cancelled fixture in an effort to keep focus on Saturday’s Wales clash, and admitted that the painful memory of the 21-13 Cardiff defeat that cost them the title will be used as motivation this time around.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

“Everyone’s focused on Wales,” insisted the England head coach. “We had a great training run yesterday, and the boys are excited about playing Wales. You’ve got to remember they beat us last year so we owe them one.

“They’re a well-coached team, we know they’ve lost their last two so they’ll come hard at us. That’s the only thing we can talk about. The only thing we’ve got to worry about is playing Wales on Saturday. We don’t think any other way.”

It will be the first time that Jones has come up against Wales without Warren Gatland opposite him, with Wayne Pivac taking over from his fellow Kiwi and leading the side to just one win from their first three games after losing to Ireland and France.

“They’ve lost two games,” Jones added. “They’ve got a new coach and they’ll want to make a statement on Saturday.

“Traditionally our games are very close and tight games so they’ll come with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy. They’re two veterans (Ken) Owens and Alun Wyn Jones will lead the way and they’ll be a tough team.

“They pass the ball a little bit more, but there isn’t any great change at the moment – they’re a still a very good team.

They were semi-finalists at the World Cup and to get that far you have to be a good team.”

Jones elected to make one additional change to the side that beat Ireland on top of the one he was forced in to, with flanker Sam Underhill ruled out with a head injury resulting in Mark Wilson’s return to the squad. The on-loan Sale Sharks forward has just one appearance for the club this season since joining from relegated Newcastle Falcons, having undergone knee surgery after the Rugby World Cup, but he joins Anthony Watson in returning to the starting line-up after recovering from injury.

Jones said: “Mark’s had a hard route. He was great for us during the World Cup. He’s a terrific team man. He’s had to go through a knee operation and rehab but he’s come back in, is fit and full of beans and has added a lot of energy to the team.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Things to Know: Lakers have found their shooting touch

The East has gone to form (aside from one Orlando upset game), but the West has been wild in the NBA playoffs, and that continued on Monday. Here are three things you need to know from yesterday in the NBA.…

‘Absolutely serene’: Former UEFA president Michel Platini unconcerned after being named as a SUSPECT in illegal payments scandal

This comes amid a corruption case against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter as Swiss prosecutors probe Blatter’s role in alleged payments to Platini, with the Frenchman accused of being party to “criminal mismanagement, of misappropriation and forgery”.  The issue stems from…

Predicting how Sheffield United vs Chelsea will play out tonight

Sheffield United host Chelsea in the Premier League today. The Blades are firmly in the hunt for European football after an early restart wobble and will be looking for all three points this evening. Chelsea want a top four spot…

German football association considers games behind closed doors

  BERLIN – While German national coach Joachim Loew made an urgent appeal to fans and the public to follow required rules to fight coronavirus, the German football association announced they were setting up an aid-program for struggling regional state…